I was doing voluntary work somewhere in the outskirts of the east when I came across a crowd queuing at the deck of one public housing. Curiosity brought me to the front of a shop, and I soon realized that it was Nakhon Kitchen, claiming to serve authentic Thai cuisine. The claim, however, was obviously endorsed by a full seating in a relatively small Thai style set up restaurant, and another group of patrons were waiting patiently for their turn. By the time I left the place about half past nine in the late evening, it still packed a decent crowd.
It must be good, I guessed. Well, I must try! And Francis again was my accomplice of gluttony. Alright, I would play it mild, my lunch company instead.
Two weeks later, I led the innocent to try out this new found place. Actually, it was not new: we were. The restaurant at Block 136 Bedok North Avenue #01-166 is another branch of Block 212 Hougang Street 21.
We arrived early at 11.30am. The restaurant opens from 12pm for lunch and takes an interval in the late afternoon before it opens for dinner again. We waited a while at a coffee shop at the other end of the building with each a cup of tea, struggling to fan the air of processed tar from the neighboring tables and checking emails from the mobile.
As eager as the beaver, I hurried Francis to the restaurant by 11.50am and helped ourselves to a table. The menu was the usual Thai dishes.
By 12.15pm, after we had placed orders for our lunch, the whole place was fully occupied!
We shared an additional plate of white rice to go with my favorite clear and spicy Tom Yam Soup with Prawns, Green Curry Chicken, the ever popular and appetizing Thai Mango Salad, the fragrant Pandan Leaves Chicken, Singapore’s favorite Belacan [ber-la-chan] Kang Kong with chili and chunks of garlic (sometimes it is also served with fermented bean curd to mask the strong smell of belacan), and deep fried spring rolls with homemade Thai chili sauce.
We were particularly impressed with the speedy service. Most of the dishes were served hot; we consumed it hot with beads of perspiration forming at our foreheads but the mildly hot and spicy dishes nicely warmed up our body in the cool afternoon.
Finally we washed everything down with a refreshing lemon grass drink. The bill was settled mainly in cash as we left the table for the next group of eager beavers.
This lunch was like having home cooked Thai food right at the door step and I really envy this lovely neighborhood with Nakhon Kitchen nicely tucked quietly in a corner serving the best of Thailand and Nakhon Kitchen made it so affordable to its loyal regulars. We shall return to try the nourishing Papaya Salad, the exotic Red Curry, the wild Jungle Curry, and my favorite Tom Yam Goong.
With the influx of talented foreigners in Singapore, I certainly looked forward to a repertoire of culinary cultures springing in the ordinary neighborhood, injecting a new lease of affordable and delectable culinary experience for the young and old.